Start a Club
Thank you for your interest in starting a new club. You may submit a petition to start a club during any of the petition windows posted below.
Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs) enjoy benefits like:
- use of campus spaces
- the freedom to promote their organization and events on campus
- and the opportunity to apply for ASI Club Funding (subject to availability and eligibility).
To start a club...
Step 1: Check for club availability.
Search the Organization Directory to make sure that no other club exists with a similar purpose.
Step 2: Recruit 5 members and an advisor.
- Find five currently enrolled Cal Poly students who would like to be a part of the club.
- Find a Cal Poly State University employee who would be willing to serve as the club's advisor.
Tip: Find the contact information for faculty and staff on your Cal Poly Portal, "Home" tab, "Simple Search."
Step 3: Complete and Submit the Petition and Bylaws
- Complete the Petition for University Recognition, available on the Forms tab in Cal Poly Now. Please note that the Petition will only be available during the petition dates listed below.
- Create your organization's bylaws via the Bylaw Builder, also available on the Forms tab in Cal Poly Now. The bylaws must be submitted as part of the Petition process.
Cal Poly will accept petitions and bylaw submissions during the following dates:
Petition Timeline 2022-2023
||first day to submit
||last day to submit
||Monday, September 19, 2022
||Friday, October 14, 2022
||Monday, January 9, 2023
||Friday, February 3, 2023
||Monday, April 3, 2023
Friday, April 28, 2023
Petitions and bylaws must be submitted on or prior to the last day to submit for consideration during that quarter. All petitioners and the prospective advisor must vote in favor of the petition before the deadline to indicate their support.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are petitions only accepted during certain times of the year?
Submission timelines allow the Clubs & Organizations Office to investigate petitions and bylaws prior to an evaluation by the RSO Petition Committee.
When will I find out if my petition is accepted?
The RSO Petition committee will spend the two weeks after the deadline researching petitions. Petitioners will be informed if their petition is accepted no later than three (3) weeks after the deadline.
If my petition is accepted, am I good to go?
Once the committee determines your Petition for University Recognition and bylaws are in order, you will receive an email notification to have your President/Primary Contact register the organization through Cal Poly Now. Once the registration is approved, the organization is fully recognized.
How long does the process take?
The process of petitioning for recognition can take up to 10 weeks, depending on how quickly the petitioners respond to questions from the RSO Petition Review Committee and address any concerns.
- Weeks 1-4: Petitions are accepted and petitioners and prospective advisors vote if they are in favor of the petition.
- Weeks 5-6: The RSO Petition Review Committee researches the petitions and addresses any concerns to the petitioners.
- Week 7: The petitioners are informed that their petition is approved however their bylaws require a few changes before approval.
- Week 8: The amended bylaws are approved and the President/Primary Contact is instructed to register their new organization via Cal Poly Now.
- Week 9: The officers and advisor complete their Officer Training and their eligibility is verified by Clubs & Organizations, the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities, and the Office of the Registrar.
- Week 10: The new organization's registration is approved and the RSO is now fully recognized and able to:
- Submit E-Plans
- Apply for ASI Club Sponsorship
- Create events on Cal Poly Now
- and much more!
For additional step-by-step instructions on what is involved in starting a new Cal Poly club, see the Cal Poly RSO Handbook.
Does your prospective club have clearly defined learning outcomes? Could it have a strong connection to a college or department at Cal Poly? If so, take a look at the criteria for recognition as an Instructionally Related Activity (IRA).
For the average student, a club and an IRA may look similar, but for you as a potential leader of the organization, they would behave differently. Whereas a club can act independently, serving any number of interests, an IRA will work closely with a college or department, benefiting from support in the form of funds, facility use, and supplies. It's a good idea to explore both options before petitioning for recognition because a group cannot occupy dual status as a club and an IRA.